Accusing Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar of trying to intimidate and suspend his personal secretary to paralyse the working of his office, Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, in a letter to the L-G, demanded disciplinary action against Kumar and his staff for allegedly “leaking” the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the Burari hospital sexual harassment case and called it a “fit case to place before the NCCSA”.
This comes days after CS Kumar called Bharadwaj’s personal secretary “politically compromised” and proposed his suspension for allegedly passing official notes by the minister to the AAP. He said the minister’s direction to submit an ATR in the matter was posted on social media platform, X, on Sunday afternoon, before it reached him.
Bharadwaj Wednesday said Kumar had not given any substantive proof against his PS and said the former was “cleverly hiding important facts of the case”. Kumar did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
In the letter to the L-G, Bharadwaj said on Sunday, the note was “physically sent through my vehicle driver to his (Kumar’s) Satya Niketan residence on the same date… and staff at the entrance of residence of the Chief Secretary refused to receive the said… note marked as urgent.”
Attaching a still from CCTV footage showing his official car, Bharadwaj alleged staff at the residence were “under direction” from the CS to not accept any such dak/UO note.
He also said his office staff spoke to the staff at CS residence but they “refused” to receive the note, saying that it is a “clear direction of the CS not to receive any dak”. “CCTV footage around the CS’s residence and the phone location of my vehicle driver can also be confirmed,” Bharadwaj wrote. He added that his staff tried to reach the CS through different media — email, WhatsApp through the Secretary (health) — but the note was finally delivered physically at the CS house at 10.10 am on Monday.
Bharadwaj also questioned how Kumar was unaware of the directions till 2.15 pm on Monday when he mentioned in the ATR that the note was delivered at his residence at 10.10 am. “Clearly, the CS is manipulating facts to show that he submitted ATR in exactly 6 hours, just to cover compliance of directions in the stipulated time…”
On the decision to share the directions given to Kumar on social media, Bharadwaj said he was duty-bound to tell the citizens that the government had taken cognizance of the matter. “It was my duty to share my directions on the very same social media, where people and opposition are outraged,” he wrote, referring to the tweets by BJP leaders, showing protesting women.
Further, questioning Kumar’s “political neutrality”, the health minister said the ATR contained the report of the Internal Complaints Committee meeting, and leaking it “creates bias, prejudice against the women workers who had complained about sexual harassment”.
He said the present instance was “a fit case to recommend the suspension of the Chief Secretary and his staff… Even the ICC functioned without any directions from the CS… the recommendation against my office staff is simply an act to intimidate and threaten (them…”
“Even the Speaker in the past has raised concerns about officials of the Legislative Assembly being threatened and coerced by officials of the vigilance and services department,” he added.
Meanwhile, the next meeting of the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA) will see seven agendas being taken up — including disciplinary action against the health minister’s secretary. Renovation of the chief minister’s house and postings of Delhi Jal Board members are among the other matters.
NCCSA member-secretary Ashwini Kumar Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is chairman of the body, seeking a date and time for the next meeting. Sources said the date would be confirmed after the CM returns from Punjab’s Hoshiarpur, where has gone for a Vipassana session.
The last meeting was held in October.
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